Cardiac sympathetic hyperinnervation in deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt hypertensive rats

Tsung-Ming Lee, Chien Chang Chen, Nen Chung Chang

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Sympathetic activities are elevated in the central SNSs (sympathetic nervous systems) of hypertensive animals, but it is not known whether sympathetic innervation is also elevated in the heart. Sympathetic hyper-responsiveness in hypertension may result from oxidative stress. The aim of the present study was to investigate sympathetic hyperinnervation in DOCA (deoxycorticosterone acetate)-salt hypertensive rats with established hypertension. At 4 weeks after the start of DOCA-salt treatment and uninephrectomization, male Wistar rats were randomized into three groups for 8 weeks: vehicle, NAC (N-acetylcysteine) and triple therapy (hydralazine, hydrochlorothiazide and reserpine). DOCA-salt was associated with increased oxidant release. DOCA-salt produced concentric left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Sympathetic hyperinnervation was observed in DOCA-salt rats, as assessed by myocardial noradrenaline levels, immunofluorescent analysis of tyrosine hydroxylase, growth-associated factor 43 and neurofilament and Western blotting and real-time quantitative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-PCR) of NGF (nerve growth factor). Arrhythmic scores during programmed stimulation in DOCA-salt rats were significantly higher than those in the control rats. Triple therapy, despite being effective on BP (blood pressure), offered neither attenuated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy nor anti-arrhythmia. The effects of DOCA-salt treatment on NGF expression, sympathetic hyperinnervation and arrhythmias were attenuated by NAC. Furthermore, the effects of NAC on NGF were abolished by administering BSO (Lbuthionine sulfoximine), an inhibitor of glutamate-cysteine ligase. In conclusion, DOCA-salt treatment contributes to up-regulation of NGF proteins probably through a free radical-dependent pathway in a BP-independent manner. DOCA-salt rats treated with NAC attenuate sympathetic hyperinnervation and thus show a beneficial effect on arrhythmogenic response to programmed electrical stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-457
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Arrhythmia
  • Deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt
  • Hypertension
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Sympathetic innervation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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